The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

February 4, 2013

Sunday school, lost photo project keep Carthage woman active

CARTHAGE, Mo. — They call her grandma. None of them, however, are related to her. Velma McBride is their Sunday school teacher. To them, as Pastor John Davidson tells it, she is like a magnet.

"She keeps getting older, keeps talking about retiring, and I tell her, ÔNot as long as I'm here,'" said Davidson, who leads the congregation at First Baptist Church in Carthage. "We get this idea that when we get older, younger people won't relate to us or vice versa, and with her it's not true."

McBride will turn 89 this summer, but her youthful enthusiasm and active lifestyle contradict her age.

She volunteers for the Lost Photos of Joplin Project, which has collected, archived and returned displaced tornado photos to their owners. She sings in the worship choir and senior adult choir "Sharps & Flats." She quilts a quilt every year to raise money for an orphanage and has been an active volunteer in a monthly program at Fairview Elementary School.

"I guess I'm the typical jack-of-all-trades, master of none," she said, laughing.

Familiar with famine

Teaching Sunday school has been at the top of McBride's repertoire for 25 to 30 years -- so long, she said, that she now teaches children of children she once had.

"She is so active with the kids, whether it's first and second grade or the teenagers, that I don't care what age they are, they love her," Davidson said.

"This is the last end of people who grew up in the Depression era. She experienced that and knows what it is to not have anything; she knows what tough times are. I think that's why she has a real affinity to kids who have a tough home life. She walks in Sunday night as the kids are getting ready, and she's just like a magnet."

Those tough times began east of Sarcoxie, where McBride was born and attended country schools.

"You know, I did the thing everyone jokes about. I walked a mile to school, into the wind, uphill both ways, that kind of thing," she said. "I took my lunch in a pail, and we had a coal stove. We raised our own cane, made sorghum out of it and gave it to the superintendent to pay for our schoolbooks."

Like many other farm families, McBride's family saved eggs to trade in town for sugar and flour, and made clothing out of feed sacks.

"We sold milk, too," she said. "A truck came out to the farm to get it. We didn't have a car until I was in fifth grade."

Velma is the oldest of 10 siblings, whom she helped raise. But she says she wasn't really doing anything out of the ordinary at the time.

"Everyone had to work hard back then," she said. "We went to strawberry patches and picked all day. I bought my first coat -- it was red, gray and black plaid -- picking strawberries."

She has vivid memories of World War II.

"A neighbor we knew came home on furlough, and my dad let me go to a movie with him in Sarcoxie. When he went back to camp, he wrote me a letter and requested a photo," she said. "I went in town to Sprague Photo Studio and had one taken."

"He went overseas and stepped on a land mine," she said. "They had a memorial service in our high-school auditorium."

Text Only
Globe Life
  • 041314_cj glass1.jpg Carl Junction students create projects, win awards at national contest with glass arts

    The students are part of a new glass arts class at Carl Junction High School taught by Jessica Sellars, a graduate of the school who earned her bachelor's degree from Missouri Southern State University and her masters of art education from Pittsburg State University. The art teacher taught for 20 years at Coronado High School, located in Henderson, Nev.

    April 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • ryan richardson Ryan Richardson: K-9 unit receives protection from donors

    I know I write a lot about pet advocacy in this column, but for a moment, I want to write about pet heroes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Website helps locate library microfilms

    Family history researchers must be determined sleuths to learn about some ancestors who don't show up in easily-obtained records. This week, I learned about a free resource that will help in the search of elusive ancestors.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_032123610 Patty Crane: Reporter's mea culpa found in identity theft

    As I was browsing the library's list of new materials for March, "True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa" by Michael Finkel caught my attention.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer Website helps locate library microfilms

    Family history researchers must be determined sleuths to learn about some ancestors who don't show up in easily-obtained records. This week, I learned about a free resource that will help in the search of elusive ancestors.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_312124454 Linda Cannon: Gardening book helps plan for spring

    In springtime, many of us think of gardening, so, come snow or sleet or whatever, it's time to get into those gardening books and see what improvements can be made to our yards (or decks or patios if that's all you have).

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • ryan richardson Ryan Richardson: Pet deposits legal in Missouri, vary by state

    Building upon last week's column about what goes into moving and renting with pets, I wanted to touch on something that I wasn't too sure a lot of people were familiar with. I had a few people ask me about the legalities of a pet deposit and how it applies to residents in Missouri.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Website allows access to news archives

    Between 1982 and 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress worked together to develop a program called "Chronicling America." Each year, NEH gave monetary awards to institutions in various states to digitize 100,000 pages of old newspapers that relate to each state's history.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 040214 LIFE barbershop2_c.jpg Barbershop choirs grow in popularity thanks to singing TV shows, pop culture

    Singers call it the "angel's voice." The phenomenon occurs when a group of singers reach an identical chord, voices blended together as one, the harmonics justly tuned and balanced, creating a new frequency of sound that can "literally raise up the hair on the arm," said Don Snow.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • 091108-Frankie-Meyer_c.jpg Frankie Meyer: Berries were big business in Southwest Missouri history

    Recently, I noticed some blooms on my strawberry plants on the patio, and I was reminded of my youth in the Ozarks when children often earned money by picking strawberries in the fields of local farmers. I, along with my sisters, brother and all the other children in the area, looked forward to the experience each summer.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo


In an effort to curb prostitution, St. Louis police are targeting, and perhaps humiliating, the "johns" who use the services. Postcards mailed to the homes of those charged with trying to pick up prostitutes will offer a reminder about spreading sexually transmitted diseases, along with listing the court date. Do you think this is a good approach?

A. Yes.
N. No.
     View Results

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
NDN Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge